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Is it ever appropriate?

MikeZMikeZ Member
edited May 2014 in home
So, I was at a small gathering for my daughter's school... It was outside but under a park pavillion. One of the first things I noticed was a 4ft roll of white vinyl and a small backdrop stand atop one of the picnic benches.

As the gathering progressed, I finally saw the photgrapher wandering about shooting photos of the children at play or visiting under the pavallion. It was fairly bright out with some direct sun hitting the backs of some of the children and making a nice rim light. Atop her Canon Dslr of choice was a speedlight and a Stofen. It appeared to me that she was having a slight battle with her camera to get a nice image with out using the speedlight at all. (lots of chimping and re-do shot)

Later in the afternoon she gathered the children for some fun prop photos. A photo booth type of setup with the aformentioned white vinyl. Again, the chimping began. It was nearing dusk and I could not imagine how these images were coming out without the use of the speedlight. Eventually, the speedlight came on, Stofen in use, boucing at a 45 degree angle toward the children. Keep in mind the pavillion ceiling was painted white and would most likely offer a pleasing bounce surface.

Given the title of this post, do you feel it would have been appropriate for me to offer any suggestions to the photog about what I thought may have made her life a little bit easier? I did not in this case and I am semi troubled that I did not. Maybe I was afraid she would be insulted?? I know there was a time that I was having the same battles with my gear and would have loved some insite. Now there are often times I get "bothered" by people trying to help when I am not having issues and I don't really care for that much either...lol

I was just curious what some of the opinions are here about that situation...


  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited May 2014

    Hard to answer, but if my daughter was then coming up for the shoot with her if she was the designated shooter, then I would have 'offered my advice' on what to do.

    More than likely though if she was the designated shooter which it appears she was with the roll of vinyl I would not have bothered, and only if some obvious parent was trying to get a shot I may which I have done in the past.

    Even at weddings where I am shooting against backlight, sun/sky, sea, beach and they are in shade then I see the point and shoots come out, I know the images are going to be crap.

    But if I see someone beside me with a half decent DSLR with dedicated hotshoe flash I will quickly tell/show them that to do, manual, get background pretty right and tell them to then just compensate the flash. After a quick couple of shots I then see the big smile come across their faces as they happily fire away. My reasoning is the couple will get some more good general shots.

    Yeah, the urge to 'help' is pretty strong at times, and I generally have to just ignore it.

    But, if someone actually asks me, then I don't have a problem telling them. My last wedding last weekend was a case in point, one of the groomsmen could not get enough information and as long as there was a bit of downtime I would explain why I am doing what with lighting. He had no desire to become a 'wedding' photographer and just wanted to improve his general photography to shoot his family.

    I gave him the name of this site of course. :)
  • MikeZMikeZ Member
    edited May 2014
    Thanks for you input on the matter, Trev. I am glad I am not the only one with the urge to spoon feed a little bit of camera knowledge in an attempt to help out and make it more enjoyable and not such a daunting task to take a decent photograph. ;)

    But she was using a Canon and I have no idea how to photograph with that brand anyway...!!! (insert smart a** grin here!)
  • TrevTrev Moderator
    edited May 2014
    MikeZ said: But she was using a Canon and I have no idea how to photograph with that brand anyway...!!! (insert smart a** grin here!)
    Inserted :)

  • Neil vNNeil vN Administrator
  • ErinCErinC Member
    That's a tough one as I have seen people doing things this site taught me not to (ie stofen pointing straight up at the sky, outdoors) but I have also received unnecessary commentary/ help (taking corporate portraits, one person in particular went to great pains to point out that my gear was inferior [canon vs nikon fight] and how he personally thinks digital is cheating etc, then tried to tell me my flash was pointing in the wrong direction as I bounced it on the ceiling behind me). Personally I never would because I always assume the other shooter has superior knowledge to me (but in my case it's usually true). I guess a safe rule would be not to do it in a professional setting - If she were just starting out it would be confidence crushing to know others were looking at me and thinking I was getting it wrong. But if the chance came to chat later, it might be possible to introduce yourself as a photographer / enthusiast whatever and then from the perspective of interest ask her what techniques she was using to deal with the failing light... She might have an awesome technique, or she might confess that she was struggling a little and open the door for a constructive chat between photographers :-)
  • If I saw her looking around like she was asking for help then I would have tried to help. Otherwise like Neil said, not my battle.
  • Definitely not something I would involve myself in. It's their gig, not mine.

    Even with white ceilings and walls present, my observation is that not all photographers have accepted or been introduced to the School of Bounce Flash ;) In perfect conditions I'll still see flashes pointed straight up with bounce cards extended, or stofens on flashes at 45 degrees.
  • MikeZMikeZ Member
    Ya I agree; therefore I walked away. Understanding everyones thoughts I agree. I am helpful by nature so that makes it hard. ;)
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